Playing Limit Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split Poker
The basics and betting structure are the same in any Limit Seven Card Stud poker game, so if you are not familiar with the mechanics of stud poker, then first read the section in Chapter 9 titled “About Limit Seven-Card Stud Poker” before you undertake any High-Low Split Seven-Card poker games.
Although in some casinos and poker rooms many of the higher Limit Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split poker games are played with antes, their smaller limit games usually are not, nor are there any antes when playing Seven-Card Stud poker games online.
This is a game with a lot of twists that encourages excellent note-taking skills, a strategic mind, and patience. Your main objective is simple: to scoop the pot with the best high hand and the best low hand by starting out on Third Street with the best starting cards. So you should look for three starting cards that can lead to making the best low hand and the best high hand. You will also want to play any drawing hands as cheaply as possible. And remember, patience is a major component if you plan on winning this game.
By using five of your seven cards, you want to be able to form the best low hand and the best high hand in the game. Let's say you are holding an (As-2)-Kd. You have two cards to the nut low, two cards to the nut straight, and two cards to the nut flush. Not a bad three-card starting hand.
Generally, when you raise, you should be prepared to pay the maximum raises to see the next street. However, if you find that the re-raises are too rich for your bankroll and find yourself folding more than calling the raises, maybe it's time to tighten up on your aggressive betting action until your luck takes a turn for the better.
Note that no pairs can exist in a low hand. A low hand is made up of the best low cards, with the highest qualifying hand for a low being 4-5-6-7-8, and the best and lowest being A-2-3-4-5.
Ideally, you will have a suited Ace with a low card, and another low card under Five as a door card. An example of this would be (As-2s)-3h. True, there is a good chance you may have to bring in the action with the low card, but who cares with a starting hand like that? How you play your first three starting cards is extremely important, and there is great deception value when your starting hand consists of a concealed suited Ace.
Sticking with the (As-2s)-3h example, now get your second card dealt face-up on Fourth Street and your hand becomes (As-2s)-3h-Js. Not bad. You have two drawing hands, one to the high end of the hand and one to the low end of the hand. But you are also in the beginning stages of getting trapped. So try to get a read on your opponents, especially if you're unsure of exactly where your opponents stand with their hands. But if someone re-raises, you might want to seriously consider your hand.
A third card will be dealt face-up to each player around the table and the betting now goes up to $6 increments. Let's say your hand is now (As-2s)-3h-Js-7s. You have four cards to the nut low and four cards to the nut flush. And now you're officially trapped, because there is no way you'll be folding your hand with two more cards to come.
How do I play a made nut low on Fifth Street?
If you have the made nut low, A-2-3-4-5, on Fifth Street, you should always raise to eliminate other low draws and to prevent having to split the low portion of the pot with any of your opponents still drawing for their nut lows.
Playing Fifth Street takes a little thought and consideration. You have two separate hands to make out of your cards, and when there are several players still in the hand, that's a lot of observing, note-taking, and analysis that needs to be done in short order.
Your hand now looks like this: (As-2s)-3h-J-s-7s-4d. Your low hand still remains the best, but you are still drawing for the nut flush draw. A bet will cost $6, and as long as you have at least one way of winning the hand, bet it out and build the pot.
What is meant by the term wheel?
A wheel is a straight to the five, and commonly a winning high hand and low hand called a scooper, in high-low split poker games.
An opponent who is obviously going for the low hand will either be aggressive to build the pot or will try to see Seventh Street as cheaply as possible in the hope of not only making his low, but also backing into a straight. That's why knowing how your opponents will act in various situations is a major advantage for you.
Seventh Street is known to play itself, because if you haven't made your hand by Sixth Street, your odds of getting that perfect card greatly diminish by Seventh Street. So if there is any real action, this would be the time to fold.